The third part of this three-part article examines the typical resistance to the use of amenities dispensers.

With all the monetary and environmental benefits associated with dispensers, why aren’t more facilities making the switch? One older reason has to do with aesthetics.

“There is resistance to dispensers based on the ‘ugly factor,’” says Burger. “But over the last five to 10 years, dispensers, from an appearance standpoint, have improved dramatically and significantly.”

Many dispensers can be customized to match bathroom decor or the colors of the hotel or products inside. They can also be customized with the hotel logo. If the facility changes its logo or colors, only the dispenser needs to be replaced. The cartridges will still work despite the design change, unlike the individual bottles.

Hotels may be afraid that guests won’t like using the product, as it’s different from what they are used to. Lodging facilities don’t tend to survey guests about their satisfaction with current amenity programs, but anecdotally, guest satisfaction remains high with dispensers.

“We find guest satisfaction is very high and comparable to [individual bottles],” says Burger. “We find that hotels that institute a branded amenity fixture program, with consumer brands or brands that have a good quality name, end up with high levels of guest satisfaction. Most of our customers who use dispensers or amenity fixtures are in the top 20 or 25 percent in their market of TripAdvisor reviews.”

According to a manufacturer focus group, hotel guests are concerned that soap or shampoo in a dispenser could be tampered with, but many models lock so guests can be ensured the product is safe.

The biggest marketplace for dispensers is likely to be independent lodging spaces rather than larger chains. But this product is very appealing to facilities interested in sustainability.

Distributors should try to market to all lodging properties, as interest in the product will likely grow, especially if the economy turns south again.
 
“Every time the economy got better, interest in amenity dispensers waned or declined,” says Burger. “In this last good upswing in the economy, from 2010 to 2015, that has not been the case. The economy got better, and interest in dispensers improved significantly.”

So, if there is a economic decline again, Burger thinks interest could spike to new levels.
 
“It’s pretty warm right now, and I can only think if the economy turns south, the interest will be at an all-time high,” he says. 

Jonathan DePaolis is a freelance writer based in Frankfort, Illinois.